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2I2                           THE GAY GENIUS

turbances from the heart fire. We fight when angry, stamp our feet
feet in sorrow or disappointment, and dance about in times of joy.
Whenever the emotions are so disturbed, bodily energy is burned up
through the heart fire; "the tiger comes out through the fire". Both
these forms of destruction of energy are, according to Su, "the road|
to death". We should reverse these normal functions of fire and watej
through mental control. The swallowing of saliva comes in here as^
an effort to turn the heart fire materially downwards in the direction
of the kidneys.

In addition to this, the Taoists were constantly occupied with a
search for an "external pill", or the elixir of immortality, or the
"philosopher's stone". Like European alchemists, the Chinese Taoists
sought die philosopher's stone for the double purpose of transmuting
base metal into gold and of rejuvenation of old age. Like the European
alchemists, again, they worked principally with some form of mercyafl
compound. Because of the very peculiar qualities of quicksilver—its
metallic lustre, its great weight, approximating that of gold (atomic
weights 200 and 197 respectively), its comparatively constant fluidity,
its easy amalgamation with gold, copper, and others metals by contact,
and its interesting transformation into various states of gas, powder,
and liquid—this element naturally attracted the attention of the
alchemists, east and west, as offering the best approach to making
artificial gold. It is possible that Chinese alchemy in the time of
Tungpo came largely from Arab influence, as did European alche
But as far back as the Han dynasty there were records of Chinese wl
succeeded in producing gold from what we must consider gold
pounds. Back in the fourth century a Taoist, Keh Hung, spoke .of the
importance of exploiting the possibilities of gold and mercury to dis-
cover a formula for delaying old age or death itself. "All plants become
ashes when they are burned," says Keh, "but when you burn cinnabar,
you get quicksilver. After going through certain processes, the quick-
silver becomes cinnabar again. It is therefore, quite different from
plants [and minerals] in its nature. Hence its power to prolong life."
This author claimed that there were nine grades of pills, differing in/.
their efficacy according to the number of processes through which they
had been treated. The best kind enabled one to "become a fair
three days and the lowest kind in three years. The elements involve*
the making of this pill were cinnabar, white alum, orpiment (ars
trisulphide), loadstone, and tsengching.

Ho Wei, the author of Chunchu Chiwen, whose father was once
recommended to a post by Su Tungpo, devoted an entire chapter in his
book to stories about the elixir of immortality, which were quite current
in those days. Some of the persons Ho tells of are already known to